Harbinger began to rock the horse racing industry last year with magnificent performances, showing improvement and skill with each event. His talent and ability won the hearts of fans and catapulted him to iconic status. He was also seen as the best flat thoroughbred racing athlete in the world. Unfortunately all hopes and dreams to see him participate in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October were dashed by a fractured leg that has led to his retirement.
Foaled on 12 March 2006, Harbinger was sold as a yearling, but only started his horse racing career at the age of three in 2009. His debut racing season saw him win two races of his five career starts, which included a victory at Goodwood Racecourse in the running of the Gordon Stakes. During his racing campaign this year, Harbinger took home top honors in the John Porter Stakes, Ormonde Stakes, the Hardwicke Stakes, and delivered a crushing defeat in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which he won by eleven lengths. He was set on a course of achievement, with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe named as his next challenge, but tragedy struck while galloping at Newmarket. X-rays revealed a fracture to the near-fore cannonbone on his left front leg. Even though Harbinger was operated on and he is recovering well, the decision to retire him was made on Monday, 9 August 2010, by his twelve owners. They are better known as Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, and made their decision to secure the well being of Harbinger and his future.
Harbinger was trained by Michael Stoute, and his retirement has come as a great loss to everyone involved in this champion’s life. Harry Herbert, the spokesman for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: “The decision to retire Harbinger is based on the welfare of the horse which is paramount to all concerned.” He went on to comment on Harbinger’s past performances: “In winning the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot so impressively and then producing one of the greatest performances of all time to win the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes by 11 lengths in record time, Harbinger has confirmed himself as one of the all-time greats.”